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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-16

Role of public health literacy during COVID-19 pandemic, its implications and future recommendations- An analysis from India

Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sudip Bhattacharya
Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jphpc.jphpc_8_20

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The term “Health literacy” was coined by Ratzan et al. in 1970s stating for the littlest health education in schools. But still this term is almost new and is in its early phase of development. Though many attempts have been made in the past to define health literacy. WHO construed it as “the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health”. Health Literacy not only focuses on the individual behaviour-oriented communication but also on the various determinants of health like environmental, social, political etc., thus it is ahead of the cramped concept of health education. If health education methods go beyond the bounds of “information diffusion” and bring about interaction, participation and critical analysis, such kind of approach will lead to health literacy, personal aid and social benefit by enabling adequate community action and will contribute to the advancement of social capital. We believe that nowadays, health literacy is limited to the non-communicable diseases, Maternal and Child Health care and health education is provided to the citizens which is more of kind a bureaucratic formality rather than serving its real purpose. However, this COVID-19 pandemic has become an eye opener for us and revealed that health literacy as a part of health education, is equally important for communicable diseases as well and not only system preparedness, but individual preparedness is also the key to deal with the actual life problems during crises situations.

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